This week I’m living in a hotel. I’m working in Manchester until the 21st and I couldn’t think of anywhere else to stay so this experience isn’t entirely my choice.
Outside of London, average hotel occupancy rates are at 77%, with the average rate for a room lying at £70, making a £54 revenue per room. This doesn’t fill me with a huge amount of satisfaction at the value for money I’m getting…
For £411 of my hard-earned cash I’m getting eight nights stay, with two weeks of wifi, and breakfast each day. This means I’m paying about £51.75 a night which puts me nearly £20 below the national average!
Asides from the devastating impact on my wallet, the idea of living in a hotel sounds pretty appealing. Your room is cleaned for you, the bed is always soft, clean, and freshly made, and you can even have breakfast made for you too.
Unfortunately, the reality isn’t as fantastic.
The first night I was there I shared the bed with Jamie. He drove me to Manchester because I was very nervous and didn’t want to catch the train. Within 15 minutes of putting my head down onto the pillow my scalp was on fire. It was pretty late so I just put some cold water on my scalp to cool the irritation and threw my jacket over the pillow to get my head onto something I knew wouldn’t irritate my skin conditions.
The next day I had to be one of those people, the kind who ask what the hotel wash their sheets in, and, to his credit, the guy at reception phoned the external company for me to find out. Turns out I had a bad reaction to the bleach used to whiten the pillowcases.
Luckily Jamie was still here at this point and I could ask him really nicely to buy me a cheap pillowcase to get me through the rest of the week itch free.
My next problem was the sheer expense of food. It cost me nearly £30 to get a meal and an alcoholic drink for two people which is way too much to be cashing out every night. The average meal price is between £7-£12, putting the hotel above national average in this area!
To my delight, I’d been blessed with some good luck once again. There was a Tesco express less than 5 minutes away from my room and for £18 I made my way back with a bottle of wine, three bottles of cider, and enough food to last me the rest of the week.
The next couple of days were fairly uneventful. I slept well, made the bed, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door so my pillowcases stayed where they were, and ate breakfast before I left for work in the morning.
On the Wednesday, however, my good fortune ran out. I took a journey into the city center after work to buy a few items and ended up getting slightly stranded.
The trams stopped running due to a massive communication failure, and I couldn’t find the closest bus stop that would get me back to my hotel. I had very limited battery on my phone as I hadn’t prepared for this situation (it’s not fantastic at the best of times), so GPS was out of the question.
I couldn’t call anyone from the hotel because I didn’t know the number. Even if I did, there was nothing they could have done to help me which is nothing like my situation at home. When I’m in Lincoln, I know that someone would be able to get me back to where I need to be if I couldn’t find another option.
Eventually I opted to just get into a taxi and let them take me straight to the door. It had grown cold and I was extremely tired, I’d left my bed more than 12 hours before and just wanted a bit of time to relax.
The whole experience was quite lonely. I live with two cats at the moment who are always there to greet me when I get home and I’m never without company when I’m on my own so the isolation of the room was really sad.
I didn’t really speak to anyone else staying the hotel and it definitely made me appreciate how nice it is to be able to physically speak to people outside of work.
I have another week of hotel living, but this time I’m much more prepared for it. My pillowcases are ready!